Provocative Toronto Advertisements Highlights Dangers of Distracted Driving

Published: May 16, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Commuters on one Toronto highway will encounter a billboard this week that is arguably an extremely potent message as to why you should not be a distracted driving statistic. The public service message can probably be described as counterintuitive as it simply says “Text and Drive.”

There are a pair of billboard on the Gardiner Expressway that appear to be advocating using a cellular device while driving, but the devil is most definitely in the detail. The “Text and Drive” is coming from a fictional funeral home, which is where drivers could end up if they do actually text while operating a vehicle.

The novel and unique shock and awe approach has been devised by John St. advertising firm, and is basically Wathan Funeral Home advertising that drivers should text while driving as an increase in traffic fatalities will mean more business.

To the point, blunt, and arguably shocking, the advertisement certainly gets its point across and should serve as a sobering reminder to drivers that distracted driving is a killer. Mylene Savoie said the PSA was designed to get straight to the heart of the issue and shock drivers:

“(It) is absolutely provocative and absolutely shocking when you first see it,” she said Thursday.

The campaign goes far beyond a simple billboard however. The firm fully anticipates that some drivers will be suitably outraged that a funeral home would be drumming up business by advocating accidents. Some of those disgruntled motorists can visit the funeral home website, where they will be greeted by information about texting and driving.

Distracted driving is a huge problem and is potentially the number one cause of traffic fatalities in Canada, beating drink driving according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. While talking on a mobile phone is the cliché and most dangerous form of distracted driving, using GPS, texting, and putting make up on are other common activities that result in collisions.